DNR Enforcement Division announces promotions

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division has promoted four officers – Chelsie Leuthardt, Brandon McGaw, Jen Mueller and Brett Oberg – to the position of regional training officer. They’ve been in their new positions since April 18. 

The Enforcement Division’s six regional training officers are responsible for training the state’s conservation officers on topics such as defensive tactics, firearms and use of force. In addition, they train and work closely with the 6,000 volunteers who are integral to delivering the division’s education and safety training program. (The largest number of volunteers, about 4,000, are firearms safety instructors.) Regional training officers also spend a portion of their time performing the traditional field duties of a conservation officer.

Following are brief bios of the newly promoted officers:

Chelsie Leuthardt has been a conservation officer for four years and most recently patrolled the White Bear Lake area. “I’ve made strong connections with many instructor groups and look forward to working with them more closely,” said Leuthardt, whose area includes the southeastern part of the state. “I enjoy working with our user groups and helping to form how we train our next generations of outdoor enthusiasts.”

Brandon McGaw has been a conservation officer since 2007. For most of that time, he’s been stationed in the Mora area. He’s also been a Conservation Officer Academy instructor, field training officer, firearms instructor and use of force instructor. “I really love teaching,” said McGaw, whose area includes 10 counties north of the metro. “I enjoy connecting with the students as well as the older adults who take safety training courses.”

Jen Mueller began her career as a conservation officer in the Hutchinson-West station in 2012. Mueller, who was promoted after serving as an acting regional training officer, said she learned quickly that participating in the Enforcement Division’s youth safety programs was one of her favorite parts of the job. “I’m amazed by our volunteer instructor groups and how passionate they are about what they’re teaching,” said Mueller, whose area includes the southwestern part of the state. “I also enjoy teaching our officers and helping them become better equipped to deal with situations they may face in the field.”

Brett Oberg has been a conservation officer for 13 years and spent much of that time in the Hutchinson-East station. He’s also been an armorer, field training officer and use of force instructor. “I really enjoy training others and seeing youth get excited about the outdoors, especially firearms and hunting,” said Oberg, whose area includes the south metro and south-central part of the state. “I also enjoy teaching at the Conservation Officer Academy and helping the new recruits become conservation officers.”

The four officers join Regional Training Officer Mike Lee, who covers the northeastern part of the state, and Acting Regional Training Officer Greg Oldakowski, who is responsible for the northwestern part of the state. Bruce Lawrence is the Enforcement Division’s statewide recreational vehicle coordinator.